The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes

The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes

There may be no audio commentary for the film, but there is ample compensation provided by the excellent 49-minute accompanying featurette.

Somewhat misleadingly entitled 'The Making of Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, with the Quay Brothers and Alan Passes', this keeps the behind-the-scenes footage very much in the background, focusing instead on an extensive and articulate interview with the identical twin directors and their co-writer.

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Without ever resorting to soundbites or platitudes, the brothers discuss their art-free background and late arrival to live-action features (via work in illustration, animation and puppetry) and their resistance to pressure to include any big-name actors or plainly expositional dialogue in the film.

We learn Channel Four had invited them to create something far more mainstream than their debut feature Institute Benjamenta - something this time in colour, with genuine dialogue and an identifiable story structure. One can only wonder what Channel Four made of the resulting "poetic science fiction...with its own specificity" that is, by the Quays' own admission, "a bit deformed".

The interviewees also cover Terry Gilliam's attachment to the production, which, although hands-off, opened all kinds of financial doorways; the near 10 years of preparation for the film, as well as its "enormous post-production"; the (by necessity) last-minute choice of library music for the soundtrack; and their frustration with the film's reception by Anglo-Saxon critics culturally conditioned to measure everything by the canon of naturalism.

Finally, the brothers declare "the film is like a vast installation of Droz", which they suggest should ideally be projected onto a waterfall in the open air, since "it needs a different way to see it to liberate it". This is an eccentric and funny exegesis from uncommonly intelligent filmmakers.

There is also a two-minute deleted scene, variously entitled Droz's Secret Flesh or Portrait Of Droz Hearing His Music In Her Heels, in which Droz is shown staring at a squatting Malvina, and then at Malvina's exquisite shoe which, placed on a pedestal, begins to pulsate and take on oozing phallic form. Being no more or less bizarre than anything else in the film, it is difficult to determine where exactly it would have fit before it was deleted or why exactly it was removed in the first place. Definitely one for all you foot fetishists out there.

Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2006
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The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes packshot
Meglomaniac doctor brings together a piano tuner and a dead opera singer for his grand operatic masterpiece.
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Product Code: ART315DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: Widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1/2.0

Extras: Making-of featurette, deleted scene, theatrical trailer, image gallery, Quay Brothers biography

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